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"Well, you sit right back down there till this thing's over, see?"
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Thugs With Dirty Mugs is a 1939 Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Tex Avery.

The cartoon is a parody of gangster movies, with the title itself being a reference to a 1938 film Angels with Dirty Faces, made by Warner Bros. themselves.

The cartoon is notably one of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes, and one of the very few 1930's Looney Tunes to hold such an honor.

Tropes:

  • 13 Is Unlucky: Killer Diller, despite raiding every National Bank from the 1st to last, skips the 13th National Bank because he's superstitious.
  • Alliterative Name: Flat-Foot Flanigan.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Happens twice with Flanigan.
    • The first time, you hear him inside his office saying "I'm gonna pin it on ya!", then the scene switches to him playing Pin The Tail On The Donkey.
    • As the camera focuses on Flanigan's door, he is heard inside saying "Take that, you rat! And that! And that!" As the scene switches to inside, Flanigan is giving an actual rat some cheese.
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  • Born In The Theater: The cartoon uses the old "audience member silhouetted against the screen" gag.
  • Bowdlerization: The WB airing of this cartoon cut the part where one of the robbers hits a bank teller (who taunts them with "I'm going to tell-ell!" as if he's a schoolyard snitch) in the back of the head during one of their heists and the scene of the police chief yelling "Take that, you rat!" and then feeding cheese to an actual rodent.
    • According to Canadian animation historian Gene Walz, this short was banned in Winnipeg, Manitoba back in the 1930s for glorifying criminal behavior and showing Killer Diller being punished like a schoolkid (by being shown in prison writing "I've been a naughty boy" several times on a blackboard with a prison-striped dunce cap on his head) rather than an adult, which the censors thought wasn't "sincere." It should be noted that the Hays Code in America had a similar rule about not glorifying criminals or criminal activity in movies, but animated shorts such as this one were often exempt from this rule.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: As Killer Diller discusses his next job, an audience member is seen getting up. Killer tells him to sit down and not tell on the police. When the scene cuts to the police station, however, the man gets up and tells Flanigan where Killer is going to strike next. Flanigan thanks him... and then calls him a tattle-tale.
    • In a bit of spontaneous improv, Killer does an impersonation of radio personality Fred Allen for the audience.
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  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The audience member is clearly afraid that the cartoon he's watching will be able to shoot him from beyond the screen.
  • Impossible Thief: Killer Diller and his gang manage to rob 87 banks in the span of a single day. Later, Killer is able to rob a pay phone by sticking his gun in the mouthpiece and telling the operator to "shell out, sweetheart!"
  • Lazy Artist: During the newspaper montage, still framing it reveals that despite each paper belonging to a separate company, the main headlines are all the exact same articles as featured in the first newspaper.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Killer Diller is a bulldog caricature of Edward G. Robinson.
  • Punny Name: Killer Diller (which was popular slang in the mid-1930s for a musician who played all out). He's also portrayed by an 'actor' named Ed. G. Robemsome.
  • Safecracking: Killer grabs the combination lock for the safe in Lotta Jewels' house, then turns it like a radio dial so they can listen to the Lone Stranger.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Writing Lines: After being arrested, Killer Diller is given a long sentence... which he has to write on the chalkboard one thousand times.

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